The Lies McDonald's Tells Us

Greetings, Kotaku, and welcome to the mid-week open thread.

Maybe you've seen this video, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how McDonald's spruces up its normally ugly food to look good in commercials. Or perhaps not, in which case, check it out.

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The (maybe?) wild thing here is that McDonald's themselves made this video. I guess the idea is that showing us the process won't make the ads any less effective. They're probably right!

Friendly hermano Ben Abraham writes a freaky thing on his blog about it.

The brilliance of it all is that by the end of the video we (the viewer) are no longer appalled! There is no story here; we are not disgusted. The sheer banality and ordinariness of it defuses any and all outrage and criticism. There can be no accusations of sinister plots to dupe an unsuspecting public because – surprise! – we are now in on the magic trick. "See! Now you are complicit in our deception, and you are going to like it."

Dang. Advertising feels so central to our lives these days. Are ads their own type of art? Are they worthy of discussion as such? How much do you think you're convinced by advertisements? Do you still eat McDonald's?

And hey, if this has got you down, be sure to check out this amazing list of amazing things and amazing people at BuzzFeed. Did I mention it's amazing? Aw.

Let those prompts guide your way. And as always, feel free to discuss anything else you want as well. The Open Thread is now underway.

DISCUSSION

I've never done this, but I was very proud of this response I gave for someone wondering why Dragon's Dogma is so loved by the people who play it, but hasn't sold so well and hasn't scored so well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

"I actually believe I could articulate why, if you don't mind reading, that Dragon's Dogma actually feels like discovery, like the original Legend of Zelda. It's something I only recently was able to fully explain, while I was telling a friend about why I love the game so much, but it was a feeling I had pretty instantly.

The game reminds you so much of the original Zelda (as it also does for me), because it harkens back to actual discovery in videogames. Not the simple kind, where you get to a new location, have a bit of awe for maybe a minute, and then are whisked away (it really bothered me that I couldn't go back to some locations in FFXIII that I ended up having dozens of saves so I could go back and check out the scenery in them (( I love art and I love getting inspired by it)) ). No, Dragon's Dogma is just like the original Legend of Zelda, because there is barely a fast travel system.

I have a book that's called "The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy" (I love it and the series, they're not all by one person, but are themselves collections of mini-papers about certain themes in games or movies by different writers and how they relate to philosophy concepts). In it, there's a chapter called "Look Before You Warp". It goes on to describe how warping annihilates time and space. That any journey is not just about the destination but also the traveling, which is sometimes, like with backpacking or climbing Everest, the joy and challenge itself. If anyone could scale Everest, it wouldn't seem so special. In life, we literally do not have instant warping. Once train-travel started to become prevalent, some people thought that it made the travel of getting to places lessened, that feeling and experiencing the actual movement across the land, even if by horse or carriage, was far more impactful. I, though I love to travel, think that plane travel makes me miss so much of the world.

I loved Skyrim, I played it very, very much, and got to a very high level (lost track after 67 because I stopped leveling, too many elite Draugr's, wanted to horde my skill points in case I wanted to try new skills), but one thing that I never really liked was the locations. They were all pretty and good, and the land overall had it's little pockets of different earth, foliage, fauna. But I never really connected with anything. Even with Whiterun, a city I traveled to hundreds of times, there were parts of the city I barely knew, and that's because of warping, or fast-travel. It didn't matter if I was going to a place I had never been to before, let's say the nearest known location was half a mile away, once I actually got to the new location, if I ever needed to return, I would just fast travel to it. In effect, it made any in-between area I ever walked across completely forgettable, even in places in my home town. The actual land of Skyrim, for the most part, could have just as well been non-existent (it didn't hurt that a lot of the dungeons followed three or four templates). Even though I loved constantly having to quests to do, I didn't feel like I was actually apart of a world.

Dark Souls, and to a lesser extent, Demon's Souls, were not like that. They had checkpoints, bonfires, that even if you got to them, they were not where the action was. If you still had things to do, you still had to get to them.

Dragon's Dogma took it one step further. In Dragon's Dogma, I actually discovered a land, for the first time, in a game, in forever. In DD, the travel was literally just as important as the destination. Just a week ago, I had my first quest in Soulflayer Canyon, and I decided, just to discover, to stumble out of the west exit. Once I entered that area, which in retrospect was pretty small, I had no idea where I was, had no idea what the Greatwall Encampment was, and if it was safe, since Heavenspeak hated me (for having a dude pawn, I later found out), and I felt lost, not for the first time, in the game. How many times do current games make you feel lost? Actually lost, where you can't just look at a map, because part of the map hasn't been actually discovered yet!

And even when DD finally gives you warping, several hours into the game, far more than instantly like Skyrim, it makes it rather costly at first, and is only really a way to get back home. Then when you're given a port-crystal, even further in the game, you yourself have to choose where to put it, by actually, again, traveling there. And it all works because the game is designed around it. Could you imagine playing Skyrim like that? People would hate it! Because Skyrim dumps quests on you and you finish them so quickly you forget them easily. I know the entire map of DD, just like I know the entire map of Dark Souls, because I've been there, countless times, and if you put me anywhere, and told me I couldn't use my map or warping, I'd still find my way home. No other open worlds are like that, and that's why it is special.

You know, not including all the neat pawn stuff.

(And as for the generic designs, somehow this game made them feel fresh, because the undead and wolves and hobgoblins and hydras are actually dangerous at first, and not so easily dispatched.)

Thanks for reading!"

#speakup